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and we see the return, without the
blesfings of peace. The ordnance
debentures have been lately at a
discount of 33 per cent. It is a
disgrace to a nation, to suffer the
demands upon them to be brought
to market so depreciated, as to be
sold at a price fixed by the courtesy
of the purchaser, and accepted from
the necessity of the public cre-
ditor.
It is the part of a wife and faith-
ful government to guard against
these mischiefs in their future con-
traits. The cheapest of all bar-
gains, in public as in private life,
is that made with ready money. If
prompt payment be impracticable,
a stated time of payment, strictly
kept, is the next eligible method;
and, last of all, an allowance of
interest, according to the current
value of money, punétually paid,
upon securities easily negociable.
Ordnance debentures are frequent-
ly made out for the amount of the
demands, and, containing large
sums with fractions, are negociated
with difficulty and loss : to give
them that facility of circulation
which, for the credit of the state,
ought to attend all their securitics,
the fractions flould be paid to the
creditor in cash, and the integral
sum distributed into debentures or
bills for even sums, not exceeding
2001. each, and made transferrable
with as little formality as India
bonds or exchequer bills; and by
that means they will bear an equal
value in the market. 'I hese regu-
lations extended to every board in-
trusted with the public expenditure,
will enable them to treat upon
terms more favourable to the pub-
lic, and tend to the attainment of
that great object, so necdful in
every department of the state, a
frugal administration of the public
revenue. To carry regulations of

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profits of the several officers employ-
ed in this extensive department.
In the establishment annexed to,
and carried into execution by, that
warrant, a salary is appointed to
each office; and the annual amount
o, them, together, is 34,457l. is.
6d.
In every office, those persons
who preside, and are intrusted with
the superin'ending power and con-
trol over the whole, having full
knowledge of the business allotted
to each division, are the proper
judges what number of officers and
ministers are necessary, and what
industry and talents are requisite
for the performance of every branch
of the duty : it must rest upon their
judgment and fidelity to the public,
that neither the number nor sala-
ries exceed the demands of the ser-
vice. Before this regulation was
in force, fees and gratuities, under
the sanction of custom, were paid
by the contractor, in various stages
of his transačtion with the office,
from the procuring his contract, to
his payment by debenture : a con-
tract for the hire of a ship of 700
tons, 20 months in the service, cost
the contraćtor, in agency, fees, and
gratuities, 3821. One per cent. the
customary poundage for agency
only, upon 2, 180,3961. the amount
of the freight, is 21,8o31. What-
ever saving accrues from this regu-
lation is gain to the public; for Nie
contračtor, to insure his profit, will
charge it in its fullest extent to the

account of the public.
This regulation is a part of that
system of oeconomy that ought to
be extended to every revenue de-
partment, whether of receipt or ex-
penditure. The exertion of the
authority of the superior officer,
vested in him by virtue of his of.
fice, with his majesty's approbation
and confirmation, has effected it o
tile

the ordnance: were the same steps
taken in other offices, the same end
would be attained: there is hardly
any office but possesses, the like
powers, lodged either with the su-
preme officer or a board; and,
should any defect or obstruction
check the exercise of the power,
the legislature can lend their aid.
The utility of the regulation has
the sanction, not only of high au-
thority, in the instance before us,
but of the declared sense of the le-
gislature, by their enablishing it
in the office of the paymatter-gene-
ral of his majesty's forces.
It appears from this inquiry, that
the auditor of the imprest is em-
ployed upon the ordnance, as upon
the navy and other accounts that
have been before us, in little more
than comparing different entries of
the same sums, and examining the
formality of vouchers, and the ac-
curacy of computations and cast-
ings: those circumstances of the ac-
count in which the interest of the
nation is the most materially con-
cerned, the terms of the contract,
and the fidelity of the execution,
are not within his reach : the board
of ordnance alone are intrusted to
decide upon them, and upon the
authority of the fignature of the
board-officers he admits the vouch-
er for an expenditure to be true in
every circumstance, except in those
which, being'confidered as the least
important, are usually commited to
the care of inferior clerks.
This account first undergoes, in
the office of ordnance, an examin-
ation fimilar to that given to it by
the auditor of the imprest, every
article is checked by the proper of-
ficer; and the final examination of
the ledger with the vouchers is
made by the board previous to their
signature. a second examination of
the same kind, in another office, at

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and clerks in each of the two of. fices in the same year; the fifth is an account of the fees and gratuities claimed by the officers and clerks on the several species of bufiness transacted in these offices. From these accounts, and from the examination of Charles Harris, esq. one of the deputy auditors of the imprest, we learn what are the establishments in the two divisions of the office of the auditor of his majesty’s imprest, and , by what means they are supported. One of these divisions consists of the auditor, one deputy, nine clerks, eight extra clerks, and a messenger: the other, of the auditor, two deputies, cight clerks, eight extra-clerks, an office-keeper, and a messenger. Since the beginning of the year 1781, the establishments and a number of extra clerks in each divifion have been increased, for the purpose of bringing up and completing the arrears of bufiness in the office. The deputies, and all the clerks and officers, are in the appointment of the auditor; to all of them he pays salaries, and to some of them he adds allowances, out of his fees and payments, for extra-work. The deputies receive all the profits of the office, and account to the auditors and clerks for their shares. The whole expence of the office is defrayed by the auditor. The profits of the auditors arise from salaries and fees. The salaries are inconfiderable ; one hundred marks granted to each in the letters patent by which he holds his office, payable out of the exchequer, and certain other small salaries, the whole amounting to about 1ool. a-year to each of them. His fees depend upon the accounts audited, and the inrolment of public instruments in the office. In the

ordinary accounts, the fees upon some of them are a certain payment upon each account, whatever may be the amount of the sum accounted for; upon others of them the quantum of the fee bears a certain proportion to the sum in the account; but for the army account he receives both a fixed sum for each year's account, and also a certain sum for each troop and company the pay of which is contained therein. The fees upon extraordinary accounts are uncertain ; they are in proportion to the length and period of the account, and the trouble it gives to the office. The fees for inrolments are small payments, according to a table long established in the office. The fees to the auditor are, except some of those arising from inrolments, all at the expence of the public ; for the auditor inserts them, and they are allowed in the discharge of the

aCCOuntant. The authority upon which the auditor grounds his right to fees, is either the warrant of the lord high treasurer Godolphin, in the year 1704, alluded to in our last report, which ascertains the fees to be taken by him for auditing most of the ordinary accounts subject to his cognizance; or otherwise the royal fign manual, or the treasury warrant, allowing the fee craved by him in his memorial to the treasury, for auditing any particular account. The deputies, besides the salaries paid to them by the auditor, receive fees and gratuities. The fees are certain known sums upon certain particular accounts, grounded upon usage in the office; some of these are inserted in the accountant's bill of incidents, and consequently paid by the public. The gratuities are voluntary donations by the account. ants, but limited to such sums i. thd

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inrolments; and a part of 17931.
14s. 8d. the amount of the fees and
gratuities paid to the deputies and
clerks neither of which parts can
be easily ascertained) was a charge
upon the public.
But neither of the auditors con-
fider the sums flated in the accounts
of their own salarics and fees, as
properly the profits of the year
1783, though received in that year;
they represent them as swelled to
an unusual magnitude by the ex-
traordinary industry and exertions
of the olicers and clerks, in clear-
ing away, in that year, the arrears
of accounts of former years : for
these arrears the one deducts 78441.
17s. 6d. and reduces his clear pro-
fits for the ordinary annual business
of the year 1783, to 83.851. 6s. 6d. ;
the other deducts 86.171. 1 os. 3d.
and reduces his clear profits to
772;l. 1 1s. 1d.
The year 1783, then, being a
year of extraordinary diligence,
the profits of that ye or was no rule
by which we could form a judg-
ment of the general annual profits
arising from this office ; and thcre-
fore we required from the auditors
an account of the annual gross and
net receipt of the profits of their
offices, for the five years preceding
the year 1783. The returns to
this requisition are inserted in the
Appendix; in one of them, the
average net receipt is 60241. 8s.
8d.: in the other 6964!. 7s. 6d. ;
to which, if one fifth of the profits
be added, from the arrears received
in the year 1783, supposing them
to be the arrears of those five years,
the one sum will be increased to
75931. 8s. 2d.; and the other to
86931. 17s. 11d.
In the progress of our inquiry
into the manner in which the pub-
lic accounts are audited in this of
fice, we have not been able to dis-
(M) COWCT,

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